Writing Group: Second Chance

Hello, Risk Takers and Rule Breakers!

You were warned about this before, sure. But you can’t just give up, now can you? Maybe you messed up, maybe it wasn’t to your liking. Whatever. C’mon, it’s time to pick yourself up and try again, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Second Chance

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Lots of us grew up with this sentiment of encouragement, pushing us not to give up even if we fail the first time ‘round. 

But not all second chances are so easily given, many are taken for granted, and sometimes, it never should have been granted in the first place. Take, for a rather easy example, infidelity. One going behind the back of another and violating an agreement made between the two. For some, this would instantly be a deal-breaker. But for others, they can look past this, and allow the relationship to try again. Whether it’s successful or not always depends on the people involved. Perhaps you choose to explore a child getting caught in a fib, and promising to tell the truth next time. Maybe a new employee has botched a job they were given, but are allowed to retry simply on the basis that they are new. What about a long-time employee messing up that same job? Do they get the same leeway as a newer employee? Perhaps this is really as simple as going back through the drive-thru to let the food handlers fix a mess up in your order… or not giving them that chance and then leaving them a negative review.

What about the other side of this, where the second chance was already given? Did that relationship stay intact, or did the cheater fall into old habits yet again? Did the child lie again to avoid getting into trouble? Did they stay true to their word and consequences were lighter? Maybe you could choose the clumsy alchemist student who was given a first and second chance at a test, and whether or not they referred to their notes properly this time. Perhaps someone has already been caught twice trespassing upon sacred land. Do they stop going, are they caught a third time, or do they finally find what they’re looking for?

Second chances are everywhere, and they happen all the time, whether given by others or by ourselves. This intro itself took a few attempts. It certainly wasn’t perfect the first time I tried to type it. Some things never are. Those second chances come often; it’s then our choice on whether we take it or let it go.

So go out there and write! Keep in mind it’s okay to mess up, too. It doesn’t have to be perfect your first run through. That’s what the edit button is for. 

See? Told you second chances are everywhere.

—Shawna

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    7. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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Nick
Nick
5 months ago

Redemption
By NictheGreat

“Why,” said Sentinel. “Why didn’t you kill me back there?” he said to Otto who was talking to him through a jail cell. “Because you part of me Senti—” “You should have just killed me!” Sentinel shouted in anger. “Why out of all people why me?” he then started to break down crying. “Why didn’t you end me back there?” Sentinel said with tears running down his face.

The atmosphere was dark and grim. There were dark clouds outside roaming over the jail like a wave of regret. Otto just sat there in pure silence.

“That because, “said, Otto breaking the silence “I see that you are not a villain”.

“How?” Sentinel said sniffling “I took all the powers of your 3 main villains and the darkness from all their allies and killed you.” Sentinel stood up and started to pace the floor. “But you and your team came back in the flesh TEN TIMES stronger than before, and you guys completely demolished me!”

Sentinel then sat back in his seat in disbelief from standing up ranting about the team that “one” team. The same team that he thought he had killed and won the battle. Came back and brought him down.

“Sentinel” shouted Otto. Sentinel then quickly snapped back into reality by Otto’s voice. “You are not a villain anymore,” he said, “you were corrupted and controlled by darkness who wanted nothing but full control over the universe” Otto stated. Silence filled the room once again. “But thanks to you we finally defeated the darkness for good and now evil reigns no more”.

Otto then got up and looked at him, chuckled, and said “And you’re also a part of me like I said”. “I know, “said Sentinel “I saw the evil version of myself get obliterated thanks to you and me”.

“So, you and I both still know that the darkness is gone now, and your evil days are behind you,” Otto said. As Otto starts to walk to the exit he pauses and says, “For now you will remain imprisoned”. “Although you and I know the truth, it’s best that you stay here for your own safety”. “One day soon everyone will know the sacrifice you made, and you will be free to walk the land again”.

Last edited 5 months ago by Nick
Preserves Roses
Preserves Roses
5 months ago

A Time to Explore
By Preserves Roses

Lydia stood at the end of the hospital bed, watching the thin person laying there. Slowly, she became aware of a tall figure enveloped in a large black cloak holding a tall staff. She turned her head, wondering if she should speak when a voice somewhere between a whisper and an echo reached her ears.

“Take my hand Lydia. I’m here to help you reach whatever the afterlife holds for you.”

“So I’m dead….? What is the afterlife? Is it heaven, or… something else?” Lydia stretched and twisted, enjoying not feeling any pain.

“That is not for me to know or say. Take my hand Lydia. It’s the only way to the afterlife, else you will be trapped here to wander,” the whisper echoed.

“Wander..” Lydia said absently, “That was my plan. When I was finally healthy enough. To wander the world.

The cloaked figure reached out their hand towards Lydia, she took a quick step back. “Do I have to take your hand now? What if I want to stay here on earth and see a few things, could I take your hand later?”

“I will only come to you this one time, for I have many souls to shepherd.” The whisper lacked it’s echo as the cloaked head turned towards her.

“So I could find you? When I’m ready? Think of how much of the world I could see when money and food don’t matter. I could walk onto any airplane, wander through all the greatest wonders from history.” Lydia thought she could make out a bit of a profile inside the deep black hood.

“I guess I could take your hand later, if you were able to find me.” The voice sounded flatter now, more tangible.

Lydia gave a little hop, and started towards the door. “Thank you so much, there is so much to see out there. I will find you when I’m ready.” She giggled and walked through the closed door in front of her.

“Enjoy your journey Lydia,” said a husky voice as the black cloaked figure faded out of the room.

Last edited 5 months ago by Preserves Roses
Alan Baker
Alan Baker
5 months ago

Remorse (Tales from Adfidem – Book of Boghos)
By Alan Baker

Boghos went to the square by the west gate to teach in front of the temple. Thousands came to hear his words. So many that they filled the plaza as well as the balconies and adjoining streets. Addressing all those present, he said:

“If you take the wrong turn on a fork, once you realise your mistake, should you not backtrack and take the correct path? Too many stay on the wrong path and only increase the distance they must travel to regain their way.
Walk down the wrong path for too long, and you might find that the distance behind you is too great to surmount.
But even then, not all hope is lost. Someone with a wagon might be travelling in the opposite direction, and all you need do is swallow your pride and admit you have gone wrong.”

Seeing uncertainty in the crowd, he went on to say:

“So it can be with the seed that falls on parched soil. If it does not take root, the wind may pick it up and carry it to fertile soil.”

Again he said:

“If a man who has sinned against you comes to you with remorse in his heart and does not allow it to burgeon, would you not give him the opportunity to redeem himself?”

Then a man from the crowd asked him:

“What if your brother, who has cast you out, came to you in this manner?”

And Boghos answered:

“What I say, I would do.”

i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
5 months ago

[Removed]

Last edited 12 days ago by i-prefer-the-term-antihero
Makokam
Makokam
5 months ago

Chronicles of The Dragon: The Blood of The Covenant
By Makokam

“Sounds like you’ve been busy since you left home,” Jostica said, staring out over the city skyline as she held on to the roof spire.

“I could say the same for you,” Jonathan said, looking at her.

She turned to him and smirked, “Yeah, I guess.”

She looked around them again and said, “I can see why you like it up here. It’s quiet.”

“Honestly, I’m surprised your handling it so well. Not worried about falling?”

She grinned widely at him, “Are you saying you wouldn’t save me?” His face went flat. “But no, I’m not. I can teleport pretty easily. I’d have to really mess up to hit the ground from this high.”

He nodded at that and went back to looking over the city.

“So… If I told you I still wanted you back, even though you’re ‘The Scourge of Mankind’ … Would you be willing to give being a family a second try?”

He sighed and said, “I can’t go back for the same reason I left.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a phone. “But if you want to put your number in there, we can keep in touch.”

She smiled and took the phone, flipped it open, and started typing.

“I wouldn’t tell Mom and Dad about me though,” he added.

Her body went stiff for a moment. “Yeah… I think they know about you?”

“Oh?”

“Yeah… I thought they were just… trying to not think about you, but I think they actually….disowned you or something.”

Jonathan sat up straight. “Ow. I mean, that’s not surprising, at all, but it still kinda hurts.”

“It’s not?”

“Yeah. I’m pretty sure my face made the news a few times. Especially when I fought Ultima.”

“Oh! So that’s what that was! Yeah, that’s about when they took down all your pictures and locked your room.”

He “hmmph”’d and then asked, “Would you have still tried to find me if you’d known?”

She threw her hands up, “Of course! You’re my Brother! And not because our parents married. Because I decided you were.”

Last edited 5 months ago by Makokam
Abiral Kumar
Abiral Kumar
5 months ago

The Last Rites
By Abiral

“Dead. Dead as a brick,” the woman said as she picked up the body and placed it upon the cot.

“How long has he been dead?” the boy asked his mother. He liked to watch her perform the usual operation but from a distance.

“Two days, give or take,” the mother responded, already peeling off the clothes. “This pandemic has disturbed the system. No space in the morgues, graveyards, or cremation grounds. Relatives don’t claim the bodies for fear of contracting the disease. Without us they would rot way on the streets, in the gutters, in the fields. What a waste!”

She drew out her knife and made an incision underneath the rib-cage. Dark red blood oozed out like water overflowing from a bucket.

The boy drew closer; this part excited him the most. He watched as her tiny hands wriggled inside, pulled out each organ from the body and placed it in the tub by the window. The forest outside swelled with the rotting stench. The crows had begun to gather. The jackals would be here soon.

On other days, his mother would quiz him on the organs. He would answer them readily for he liked to see the smile his answers fetched on his mother’s face. “‘You will make a good doctor one day.'” she would proudly proclaim as she put the hook through the nostrils and pulled out the brain, bit by bit.

But today she did not ask him any questions. If only to disturb the silence he ventured, “Is that the pituitary…?”

” …Barely so. Seat of the soul, nearly liquified…” she continued, caught in the loop of her own thoughts, “… This disease is unforgiving. It offers no second chances; neither in life, nor in the afterlife. What a waste!”

That night they built a bon-fire for the body. One by one the birds and the animals arrived, stared into the fire from a distance and disappeared into the forest. The mother and the son watched as the body slowly disintegrated in front of their hungry eyes.

Last edited 5 months ago by Abiral Kumar
Karl Aegnor
Karl Aegnor
5 months ago

Vengeful Plea
By Karl Aegnor

The gallop of horses. A flash of steel and gunmetal. Streets, stained crimson. Tobias cringed as he attempted to liberate the sword from his gut. It had all happened so fast. Although he had hardly felt anything in the moment, trying to pull the blade out hurt. No, it burned. Gasping, he belched as the sword fell free, a cocktail of blood and bile soaking the worn cobblestones.

Tobias didn’t try to walk, just slouching down was excruciating. Where would he go, anyway? There were no doctors to mend his wounds, no friendly ears to hear his plea for aid. They were lying around him. Motionless. He laid down himself, taking shallow breaths as to not aggravate his wound. He wondered how long it would be until his spirit realized he was meant to die.

***

Wearily awakening, Tobias saw something above him. A horse, Arai’s steed, he thought. It bore no rider. It bent down, allowing Tobias to slowly, painstakingly haul himself up. The wound continued to ooze. Blood. So much blood. Tobias looked around the desolation.

Earlier that day, the square had been full. Full of people, looking at the fish that had come in from the northern village, seeing the ores that had been mined out of the mountain. People, just living. Now, no one moved in the square. Husks of buildings no longer contained fish and ore, only ash. Ash, and blood.

Tobias cried out, pain and anguish mounting. He was alive. Why? How could he live while all others perished? Perhaps he could find another town. Perhaps he had a fighting chance. The horse whinnied, and Tobias looked down. He saw the sword, red stains now drying. The heat and liquid warped his reflection in the steel blade. Picking it up, he gripped it tightly and patted the horse on the neck. Nojin – ‘Spirit of Wind’, it was named. It reminded Tobias of a prayer, sung to petition the great spirits. He muttered it now, under his breath. Egging Nojin over the corpse-clogged street, Tobias spoke his petition.

“Let me wreak our vengeance.”

C. M. Weller
5 months ago

On Monsters and Men (A Divine Beast story)
C. M. Weller

“You could kill it,” said the boy named Maakle. “Then ask Lathander to give it a new life. Wouldn’t that be quicker?”

Brother Felis thought to remind Abbott, the temple father, about that disturbing interpretation of their way. Then again, Maakle had been the youngest before the Bugbear entered the temple. “Quicker, yes, but Lathander rewards those who strive to make the world a better place.”

Maakle made a face, disgusted at the idea. “How can a BUGBEAR improve the world?”

“Only one way to find out.” Felis finished with the meat stew and doled out a small bowl, blowing its steam over the basket in which his little friend lay.

Gaarsh, still mostly skull and fluff, sat up. He was confused. “I’m not dying yet…”

“There is more than one parth to tread,” said Felis, picking out a gobbet with the spoon. “If one road is beset with bandits, we take another, and try another way.”

Gaarsh opened his significant maw and reached for the spoon. Hard to believe when he was grown, he would have an extra five feet of reach.

“He’s gonna eat your hand off!”

Gaarsh stopped at the spoon, patting Felis’ hand. “Nah,” he growled. It was hard for him not to growl. “I’m good now. No eating people.”

Maakle was still doubting. “You’re a monster. You’ll always be a monster.”

“Only on the outside,” insisted Felis. “Many a monster walks the streets with the manner of any other person. Such as someone who advises murdering a child because it’s quicker.”

The rivalry started in that exact moment.

Last edited 5 months ago by C. M. Weller
Chengir
5 months ago

Second Chance
By Chengir

Pip walked into the guard post in a daze, dragging his sword. He’d been out all night patrolling the north woods, and he looked it. Bedraggled and disheveled. Pip was a thin, younger man… hardly more than a boy really, and still growing taller. He’d grown into his ill-fitting shirt some time ago and was now busy growing out of it. He stopped as he crossed the threshold.

“Looks like he’s been out chasing the wolves all night,” Tarvek joked.

Tarvek’s sister Ljufa was there, mending a tear in his shirt. She ran the needle back and forth as Tarvek held up his arm. “Seems like more than wolves,” Ljufa muttered with a wry smile.

“There was this woman with golden hair and hazel eyes,” Pip sputtered.

Tarvek let go a genuine smile. “He’s met the dryad of the north woods.”

Pip lifted his head and stared off into space, not seeing anyone or anything. “She was… I mean, she wasn’t…”

“Yes, we know,” Ljufa declared, “they all say that.”

“We kissed.”

Ljufa dropped her arms to her sides. But because she was still holding the needle, the thread remaining attached to it, she dragged Tarvek’s arm along for the ride. “Hey,” he protested.

“Now, you’ve gone and done it,” Ljufa scolded Pip. “The lips of human women won’t taste the same now.”

“I have no experience with such things,” Pip suggested.

“You mean you had no experience with such things,” Ljufa corrected him. She had always thought of Pip as a boy, but he didn’t seem so now. Dropping the needle and letting it hang from Tarvek’s arm, she crossed to Pip. Their lips met. Ljufa’s hands tenderly caressed the sides of his face. After a long time, she broke the kiss.

“You’re right,” Pip decided, “it doesn’t taste the same.” Gathering his sword, Pip slid it back into his belt. One of the poorer villagers he couldn’t afford a scabbard. He only had the sword because of another watchman. Turning, he headed back for the door. “Second chance,” he murmured.

Adrian Solorio
Adrian Solorio
5 months ago

The Super
By Adrian Solorio

“Reading time class,” said the teacher to the second-grade students of classroom twenty-two. “Books out and turned to page forty-six.”

Darren slinked in his chair, making himself as small as he could, hoping to disappear. But Mr. Sabatello saw him and chuckled. “Darren! Why don’t you start us off today,” he said. “Mrs. Panamarchuk told me how strong your readings become. Why don’t you show us what you’ve learned in her reading program.”

“The retard’s gonna read again!” Darren heard Mario whisper to the other kids at table two and they snickered.

His tongue felt heavy and dry. “I—I think—someone else should, Mr. Sabatello,” Darren finally said. “Uhhhh—” he lied—“I don’t like to read.”

“Just a paragraph.”

Darren realized there was no getting out of it. He stared at the words and wished he was still in the special class with Mrs. Panamarchuk. But last Friday, she’d told him he’d be rejoining his regular class for reading. It had taken almost the whole year, but he’d caught up to them, and it was time to go back. He just had to believe in himself, she’d said.

“Just a sentence, Darren,” Mr. Sabatello said patiently, and more giggles came from table two, but now Mr. Sabatello hushed them and the room was quiet.

Believe in yourself.

Darren swallowed.

“Spo—Spotter—the spotted—Spotter the spotted dog jumped over the fence and es—escaped the yard,” Darren stopped.

Mr. Sabatello smiled and nodded, then glanced around for another reader—

“He ran down the busy street we—weaving in and out of traffic,” Darren continued, “avoiding the passing feet of the pedestrians…”

#

At the end of the day when the class was dismissed, Mr. Sabatello pulled Darren aside. “You really impressed me today with your reading,” he said. “I spoke to Mrs. Panamarchuk and we’d like you to be part of the Super-Reader’s Program—reading books to the kindergarten kids once a week.”

“Me?”

“Yup!”

#

On the bus, Darren couldn’t stop thinking about reading to the kinders or Mrs. Panamarchuk’s final, most valuable lesson. And he rode the whole way home smiling the smile of a super-reader.

Last edited 5 months ago by Adrian Solorio
ThatWeirdFish
ThatWeirdFish
5 months ago

Try Again (Tales from Alsair) (Repost from Private)

By ThatWeirdFish, with help from Lunabear

THWACK!

Jule congratulated Mara on her shot as the hanging target spun, arrow firmly lodged in its center. Then he aimed and fired. His arrow found its mark on the target’s opposite side.

“Show off,” Mara playfully muttered as she collected the arrows and reset the target.

Dresden watched the bantering hunters with crossed arms. Though he never fired a bow himself, it looked easy enough. Why did they need to practice so much?

“Hey, let me take a crack at it.”

Mara stifled a laugh and said something to Jule Dresden couldn’t understand. Jule rolled his eyes and handed Dresden his bow and an arrow. He patted Dresden’s shoulder and pointed to the closest target.

“This… is… easy!” Dresden hid his struggle to pull back the bowstring behind a smirk.

WHAP!

Dresden’s confident smile faltered at the sight of his arrow standing firmly in the grass in front of the target. His cheeks flushed at Mara’s laughter.

“No,” Jule chuckled. “Like this.” He demonstrated the proper stance and encouraged Dresden to try again.

Dresden inhaled sharply and aimed.

THWISH!

The arrow disappeared into the bushes beyond the target. Mara called over some passing hunters and pointed at Dresden while saying something to them. Their laughter burned in his reddening ears. “Jule, I can’t-”

“You can.”

Dresden’s heart pounded as the handsome hunter came closer.

“You are too tense.” Jule guided Dresden’s arms into the correct position, hands resting gently on his elbows. “Breathe deep. Feel the earth beneath you and the sky above.”

The hair on the back of Dresden’s neck shivered at Jule’s voice. “When you are in harmony, let it fly.”

Dresden’s breathing slowed as he tried to focus. Time seemed to pause as he drew in a breath and aimed. He fought against his imagination as his crush leaned in closer.

“Now,” Jule whispered.

THWACK!

Dresden stared in disbelief. He had hit the target! Well, the rim of it, at least.

“Well done!” Jule beamed and patted Dresden on the back. “I knew you could do it.”

“Y-yeah.” Dresden chuckled nervously. “I guess I could.”

RVMPLSTLTSKN
RVMPLSTLTSKN
5 months ago

Once More with Feeling
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)(repost from private)

He sat next to the fire as he opened his clams. The wind moaned dully in the eaves. The thick walls removed the worry of it from him. The temple silent but for the Everflame’s weak crackle. Iron on shell. A deep breath, half released. Push now with a half turn. Don’t hurt yourself.

The clam yielded. He plucked the precious pearl from its meat with a pair of copper tongs. The pearl to a bowl of water. The meat to the stew. Shells ring in a pile.

Onto the next one.

He had a half dozen of the pearls again, red like sea-god’s crown. Red like coral on the beach after a storm. Red like a fever. Like the Deep One’s skin.

Padas glances at Vienas, dozing next to the Everflame. The pale light lit her face and made her look more becoming. He was alive. He was well again. He was the Living. It all overwhelmed him, silenced him and forced him to reflect. Alive. Hale. Whole. And more.

He closed himself to his feelings, closed off tight like a rosebud, small and red.

The knife on shell again. A slow prying into the wet meat. The clatter and splash.

“What’s wrong?” Her voice quavered as a quiet thrum in the once-holy building.

“Nothing. Just thinking.”

“What about?”

“Nothing.”

A pause as pregnant as she was. “You’re usually quiet, but there’s more to it tonight.”

The knife again. He dropped the pearl into the bowl.

“Are you finding many?”

“That was the seventh.”

“Are you angry with me?”

“No, just thinking.”

“You were dying.”

“I know.”

“I couldn’t live without you, Padas.”

“I know.”

“Then what is it?”

He looked at her. Her red, blinded eyes. Her obsessively combed hair. Her worried face. Words eluded him. In this reverie, he couldn’t think of how to answer. Memories like fever dreams. The élan of the Living. The spiritual turmoil of epiphany and lust and something more. Something beyond him. Beyond human capacity.

He said the only thing he knew to be true. Real.

“I love you.”

Frei
Frei
5 months ago

Not Quite Dead (Haloed Sky Universe)
By: Frei (Don’t stream read please)

…How am I alive? And more importantly…why?

Each breath is a struggle, but air is flowing through my chest. My head feels like it’s been smashed, and every heavy pulse of my heart rings the inside of my skull, but my heart is beating. My throat is glued shut with this…Cold, cold sludge. I can’t swallow, even if there were liquid to swallow. The muscles just won’t move. Nothing will move. Nothing except my lungs, and my heart, and I can only stop one of those things willingly. Why don’t I stop it, then? It’s hurting so, so badly, I can barely think of anything else. Is it…Yes, it’s fear. I want the pain to stop, but I’m so afraid of slipping back.

I can’t see anything. I can feel light touching my face, but I can’t see it. Is this also the work of the sludge? It’s already making it hard to feel anything else I touch. I feel the force of motions, but just the impact, not the feeling of it. Pressure on my chest? My stomach? Now it’s shaking my arms. Now my legs. I’m laying on a hard surface, but any other qualities is anyone’s guess.

Wait, I…I can see something. It’s golden. Bright. Just a glare, but it hurts to look at. I really want to close my eyes and look away, but those nerves just won’t fire. Get that glare away from my eyes. It’s too much. I’m going to try and look away again, and…

…Sound? It’s clicking, and whispering. It’s close to me. Over me? Is this the thing pushing me around? Is this thing…

The glare is gone. But now I see a shape in front of me. Hazy. Vaguely round, a tan color. And two other shapes inside of it, each a deep brown, and within those each a ring of yellow.

It’s sobbing? The two shapes have shut, and now I feel pushing against my forehead. Two more pressures on my cheeks.

I hear the sound more clearly now.

“X’invinh…X’invinh…X’invinh…! You’re alive! You’re actually alive!”

…What does it mean? X’invinh?

Iceburgh69
Iceburgh69
5 months ago

Second Bid (Private repost)
By Iceburgh69

Jullian fumed inside of his armor. The invasion of the inner planets had been proceeding according to plan. His Clan was to take over a backwater planet, and the key to that was to overtake a small garrison. Jullian’s Point of five armored infantry could easily have taken it, but for his rival, Richard, who had the winning bid of four. So while Jullian was aboard the ship, Richard was down on the ground wreaking havoc.

The enforced idleness is marching on Jullian’s nerves. He goes through a systems-check…again. He watches the chronometer…again. He grinds his teeth…again. The one thing that would salvage his pride and sanity is for Richard to fail, and Jullian’s Point to be unleashed. He goes through his battle-plan again, knowing full well the ancient adage that no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.

The centuries have left the inner planets soft. They will accept anyone into their warrior caste, even those not bred specifically for the purpose. Nothing but cannon-fodder that will burn under the boots of the Clans.

ALERT! ALERT!

Jullian starts for a moment, not comprehending what is happening. Then it dawns on him and he grins a feral grin. Richard had indeed failed.

“Saddle up, whelps! Time to stomp them into a mudhole!” The four with him, clad in the same power-armor as he is, assemble and begin their final preparations. Systems check, weapons checks, comms checks. They pile into the shuttle, ready to swoop upon their target like living bombs.

Last edited 5 months ago by Iceburgh69
Alex
Alex
6 months ago

The Death of Captain Natalya Nest (Forsaken Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

The long needle-like appendages of the semi-translucent something were nailing her to the floor. Her mouth was open in silent gasps of pain, as her light-blue blood flowed around her, drenching her uniform. The putrid smell of flame engulfed the corpse-filled bridge of the Fugere.

“Confess,” the entity snarled. “I want a confession!”

“I…I don’t even know… of what I am…”

“You know. Your kind, your fleet. You are responsible. I know! Confess that you killed her!”

Nest had to admit that she had no idea what this entity was referring to, but the despair and sorrow in its voice was obvious. Something had happened. A devastating loss, which she could not remember. She had never heard of anything even resembling this creature.

“I don’t know what you mean!” she managed, spitting out blood.

She screamed, as the claws dug deeper into her flesh.

“No second chances,” it growled.

She would die. She would die here, alone and surrounded by her dead crew. That was inevitable. There wouldn’t be a chance for her. But maybe for her cadets. She gripped the small metal sphere in her hand tighter. A grenade. Powerful enough to blast her and hopefully this entity to pieces.

Her thoughts flew to her past life. She thought of her pet, Blueberry, who had been feeling a bit lonely. She’d meant to get her a friend. She thought of that video game, which had ended on a cliffhanger and the sequel to which she’d now never get to play. She thought of the ceran dish, which was meant to be served today. She’d looked forward to it. She loved spicy food.

Her final thoughts went to her cadets. They’d live. They’d have a second chance. They could keep going. They had a second chance.

She didn’t. She was Natalya Nest, Captain of the Fugere.

She closed her eyes. Tears ran down her cheeks as she activated the grenade. She barely heard the beeping over the alarm.

The cadets would live. They’d have a second chance.

Captain Natalya Nest died that day, alone in the inferno that consumed the bridge.

Last edited 6 months ago by Alex
Connor A.
Connor A.
6 months ago

Prophecy (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.

Intelligence Officer Salem stared at the young woman sitting across from her. The suspect was one Sally Shell, accused of treason against the heir apparent Edward Hassel. Salem did not want to be here, and Edward knew it. The further she was from the Wyld case, the better it was for him.

Still, she went forward with the interrogation. “What made you turn against the crown?”

Sally fiddled with the chains around her wrists. “I— I didn’t turn against the crown. Not me.”

“You were found in the royal study after encountering a known opposer to Hassel.”

“It wasn’t like that!”

Salem leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table. “Then what were you and the prisoner talking about?”

She opened her mouth to answer, but whatever she was about to say stopped in her throat.

“Miss Shell, I will give you one chance to explain your case. If it does not hold up, I will have no choice but to formally charge you with treason. You know what will happen then, yes?”

Sally’s head dipped as she closed her eyes, almost as if she was praying. She took a shaky breath and just barely spoke loud enough for Salem to hear, “‘Patron’s favored, with darkness’ edge, shall strike down order unchained.’”

“What?”

Sally looked up, her eyes more reflective than what would be considered normal. “It— It’s a prophecy. I… I wanted to at least share it with someone before…”

Not everything clicked for Salem, but enough pieces did to give her an idea of what was going on. She slowly stood up and motioned for Sally to do the same. “When I open that door, I want you to shove me aside and run.”

Her eyes went wide. “What?”

“I can’t explain why. Just promise me that you will find Nadia Chaibi and tell her that prophecy.”

Sally hesitated, but finally nodded.

Salem walked over to the door and opened it. Without any warning, she saw Sally duck under her and sprint towards the exit. She began chasing her down, hoping no one else would catch her first.

Last edited 6 months ago by Connor A.
Lunabear
Lunabear
6 months ago

For the Fate of A Friend
by Lunabear (Private Repost) CW: Violence and blood

Lightning streaks through the heavy clouds. Kari levitates steadily. Tears track down his cheeks as his eyes flash between his blue and onyx. He fights to keep his horned head upright.

The sword in his hand trembles as it lifts into the air. Another lightning flash. A roar exposes elongated fangs. Fangs aching for blood.

He doesn’t get a say this time.

Below, atop the windswept hill, Morana stares up.

The light of her eyes beats in time with her heart. The color ricochets between crimson and golden.

Her grip tightens around her consecrated bone whip. Her teeth grit at the pain digging into her palm. She strikes the ground once, twice. The earth trembles from the impact.

THIS is her purpose.

This time, she won’t fail.

This time, she’ll save her friend.

Above the wind, Morana’s voice nearly breaks. “Kari! I’m here!”

Kari lowers his head. He swings without hesitation.

Morana is sent tumbling down the grassy incline. Her whip strikes her in various spots on her body. Her grunts are swallowed by the fierce gale.

Kari touches down at the same time as Morana shambles to her feet. His voice is distorted and cruel. “Two times is more than sufficient enough to prove what a failure you are.”

Morana faces him. A sliver of blood glides down the side of her head. “I won’t-”

Kari captures her around the throat and grins. Fresh tears glisten on his cheeks. Blue fills his eyes before he sinks his fangs deep into her neck. Her screams and crooning whimpers stir his blood.

Her whip slices across his face. A diagonal line sears into his flesh. He releases her, and she crashes at his feet.

Kari bellows out his rage and pain. His sword thunks to the ground as he clutches his face with both hands.

Morana’s heart hammers against her ribs. She sits and wraps the whip around his ankle, but Kari kicks her off. She lurches into a shaky stand and grips her bloodied neck.

She lopes away at a janky run.

Kari retrieves his sword and launches it.

Last edited 5 months ago by Lunabear